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From Chapel on the Hill to Capitol Hill

By Ben Weyl

Camp Harlam and Capitol Hill have more in common than you might think. Both are tight-knit communities, with their own rhythms, rituals and rules. And certain groups — be they K’far Noar and Chavurah, or Democrats and Republicans — often struggle to find common ground.

But the thing that feels most similar about being at camp and covering Congress is the wonderful feeling that comes at the end of the day: complete exhaustion, along with enthusiasm to do it all over again tomorrow.

Some of my favorite memories come from my time at camp: Shabbat at Chapel on the Hill, Color War victories, a few extra minutes of flashlight time. As a camper and counselor, I had incredible experiences and made friendships that remain two decades later. And at the end of almost every night, I was pooped. Camp packs so much in on a daily basis — not just all the activities, but a real sense of meaning and community.

It’s also an exciting time to be a journalist in Washington. Attending one of Barack Obama’s State of the Union addresses or interviewing Sen. John McCain on Capitol Hill is never boring. And at a deeply uncertain time in politics, it feels good to be doing what I can to inform the public. On health care and taxes and oversight of the new administration, Congress is sure to keep me busy! When my head hits the pillow after a long day at work, I know what comes next might be hard — maybe even as hard as my first Galil hike — but I also know it will be worth it.

I’ll always treasure my time at Camp Harlam, and I know it’s helped bring me to where I am today.

Ben Weyl is deputy congressional editor for Politico, and has been a reporter and editor covering Congress for nearly a decade. A proud New Jersey native, Ben attended Grinnell College in Iowa and lives with his wife, fellow Harlamite Debbie (Karpay) Weyl, in Washington, D.C. He was a camper at Camp Harlam from 1996 to 2002 (CITs of 2002!), and a cabin counselor in 2003, 2004, and part of 2005. Follow Ben on Twitter @BenWeyl.

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